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Leicester ramps up Covid-19 testing after cases rise

A mobile coronavirus testing site has been set up in Leicester city centre following a surge in cases.

Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said the facility, in Spinney Hill Park, would be open for at least five days.

It emerged on Thursday that about 25% of the city’s 2,494 confirmed Covid-19 cases had been reported in the past two weeks.

Mr Soulsby said anyone concerned they might have the virus could be tested without pre-booking.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock first revealed there had been an “outbreak” during Thursday’s daily government briefing.

Leicester City Council’s public health director Ivan Browne said the numbers – 658 in the past fortnight – were “relatively small” but of concern.

He said the city had high levels of health conditions such as diabetes, “pockets of deprivation, and a very significant Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic population”.

Mr Soulsby said he had spoken to Matt Hancock on Friday about the situation.

Writing to residents earlier, he said: “As you will have seen there has been some concern about the upturn in Covid-19 cases in Leicester.

“So far this appears to be based on a limited number of tests and a comparatively small increase in positive results.”

He said the government had agreed to set up the mobile testing facility and he was “hoping to persuade the government to keep it in place as long as we need it so that we can test a large proportion of the local community.”

He said the mobile site was accessible on foot and would allow people to carry out their own tests with staff on hand to offer advice.

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